San Francisco Chronicle

Silvia Rubin | June 2000

Keeping up with fashion is a challenge. The trick is blending the trendy with the classic and finding a kick of color to play off basic blacks and grays.

We start with handbags. [Image consultant Micki Turner] visited a dozen shops before deciding on the three bags pictured here.

What they have in common is a slim silhouette and a shorter shoulder handle. “The idea is to carry the bag closer to your body or swing it out behind your back,” she says. “This modern silhouette looks good on almost everyone, in all age groups.” [It] is an easy way to modernize a wardrobe.

Turner chose three bags in three different price ranges to suit most budgets. Her favorite is the hot pink straw bag by Majunga, for $120, available at Neiman Marcus. Adding a bold color is one way for the all-neutral woman, in her black, grays, and navys, to add flash without feeling like a teenager, Turner says. “I love this color; it’s so hot, it zings! It will always be a great summer color, no matter what color happens to be “in” next year. The beaded handle is what makes this bag sophisticated; I think it’s the most sophisticated of all of them.”

On the high end, Turner chose a $200 Italian polished black leather envelope bag by Ripani, available at Paolo Shoes in San Francisco.

“This is from a small boutique, so you won’t see yourself coming and going,” Turner says. “The polished leather is seasonless and can take you through next winter. It has a wonderful, thin cord strap and creates a very slim profile when it’s on.”

On the lower end of the price ladder, Turner chose a Gucci-like short-handled bag from nine West, for $69. It’s red, in a snakeskin print, small and can be held in the hands for a ladylike look. “I love the short handles; when you put this on your shoulder, it really hugs the body, and that is a really modern look.”

The important thing to remember about the new bags, says Turner, is not to stuff a lot of junk into them. “You’ll blow out the look,” she says. “Just weed out a lot of stuff in your purse and then carry a second bag, a microfiber tote or a briefcase for your files, agenda books and other bulky things.”